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Seattle Launches Storefront Repair Fund to Support Small Businesses

New city funding will support small businesses that are economically impacted by property damage to storefronts.

SEATTLE – Mayor Harrell, Councilmember Sara Nelson and the Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) announced the launch of the Storefront Repair Fund which leverages nearly $2 million dollars of federal funding to repair or reimburse damage to small business storefronts. Through the Storefront Repair Fund small business owners can apply for grants up to $2,000 to repair current property damage or receive reimbursement for costs paid out of pocket for past damages that occurred on or after January 1, 2021. Applications will open October 18, 2022.

“Seattle's small businesses have faced many challenges over the last two years, and we owe it to them to provide meaningful tools that help solve real problems and drive forward progress,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Economic development, beautification efforts, and creating welcoming, activated spaces are all critical components of our holistic public safety strategy. This new Storefront Repair Fund will provide tangible relief to small business owners to help them move from recovery to revitalization.”

OED will accept applications from small businesses on a continued basis until all funding has been spent. Businesses can apply up to two times if they experience more than one incident of vandalism to their storefront. To apply, businesses must provide two out of three of the following documentation with their application:

  • Police Report number

  • Photos of damages

  • Receipts for repairs completed or estimates for current damage

“Our small, brick-and-mortar businesses deserve a break. Not only are they still reeling from lost revenue caused by the pandemic, they’re also victimized by repeated break-ins, arson, vandalism, theft, and acts of violence against workers and customers,” said Councilmember Sara Nelson, Chair of the Economic Development Committee. “As we work to comprehensively improve public safety in Seattle, these grants meet an immediate need brought forward by small businesses in a committee roundtable discussion on the impacts of crime. Reducing the cost burden of replacing destroyed doors and windows is a simple yet meaningful way to support our local small businesses during these difficult times and I thank Mayor Harrell and OED for partnering with me on this effort.”

Bilingual staff are available to answer questions and help applicants complete their applications in the following languages: Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese. Support in additional languages is available through our language line.

To request translation or interpretation services, businesses can call (206) 684-8090 and note the following information in their voicemail: name, phone number, preferred language and the type of support needed.

“Mainstreet businesses are a vital part of downtown and our neighborhood business districts. They are trying to turn the corner from the challenges of the pandemic, but many have had to deal with property damage, like shattered windows and kicked-in doors,” said Markham McIntyre, Director of the Office of Economic Development. “It’s hard enough to run a small business without adding cost and feeling unsafe. This new Storefront Repair Fund will provide some relief to those businesses and help them get back to baseline. It’s a way the City can help our local businesses in a practical and meaningful way.”

Reduced foot traffic and increased vandalism combined have taken a significant toll on business and property owners throughout the pandemic. In addition to the financial burden of property damages, increasing instances of vandalism to storefront facades have deterred many small business owners from filing insurance claims due to concern of a steep increase in insurance premiums and renewals. Feedback from business owners, business district leaders, and community stakeholders elevated the need for immediate help from the city to help implement strategies that support businesses impacted by property vandalism.

“Small business owners are finding themselves at the center of our city’s most complex challenges—whether it’s the rising cost of goods, or unaddressed behavioral health issues,” said Don Blakeney, the Executive Director of the U District Partnership. “We are extremely grateful for the support the City is offering our community to help our shops and restaurants recover from the impacts of the pandemic and this year’s uptick in vandalism. For a small business, even a few thousand dollars can make a huge difference.”

In addition to the Storefront Repair Fund, OED has partially funded pilot programs created by business district partners in Pioneer Square, Chinatown/ID, and the U District. Using city funding, including Neighborhood Economic Recovery Funds, OED partners have allocated resources to help businesses repair shattered windows and other façade vandalism.

“We are honored to have the support of Mayor Harrell and the city. Helping small businesses navigate the challenges in our neighborhood is a step in the right direction and will leave a positive impact. We know that many other long-term solutions are needed in conjunction with this fund to address the different needs small business owners like myself have, so that we can continue to serve the neighborhoods we love,” said Moe Khan, co-owner of Cedars Restaurant.

For more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply for a Storefront Repair Fund grant, go to the OED website.


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